Finding the right property for your B&B
A successful B&B is like a well-oiled machine – it looks like it runs itself effortlessly but actually there are a lot of elements that come together to make it work. However, before you take that first booking, choosing the right property in the best location and pitching it to suit your target audience is vital in building the foundations of a profitable business. B&Bs can provide you with a rewarding work-life balance but there’s no denying it involves serious hours and a lot of hard graft
You also need to take into account your B&B budget and the kind of décor and facilities your guests will expect. If you plan to target business customers and you’re in a country side location with limited Wi-Fi and a few pet chickens it may not appeal. However, this set-up may be ideal for couples looking to spend a weekend in the country – you need to know your audience!
1. Location, location, location
If you haven’t already found the perfect B&B property then you are in the fortunate position of being able to choose the kind of business you want to be. If you are going to live in the property, you need to pick a location that you are personally happy with, as well as one that will attract the type of clientele you are comfortable hosting.
You might be happy living in central Newcastle in a trendy and minimalist property, but are you going to be happy servicing stag and hen parties? Or would you prefer a quieter life?
You also need to think about the seasonality aspect of your business. Seaside towns will tend to attract more trade during the holidays and be quieter out of season, but then this might suit your lifestyle and bring in enough money for you to live comfortably.
If you’re in a major town centre you may also benefit from corporate bookings during the week and out of season, which is perfect if you need a steady stream of guests to stay afloat.
And don’t forget that amenities around the property might make your B&B more popular. A spot that’s in, or near, tourist hotspots, such as landmarks or much-visited villages and towns, is likely to mean business from domestic and foreign visitors, who might stay for as much as a week or more. If you’re close to a stadium, exhibition centre, or anywhere that gets a lot of one-off events, there’s a good chance you’ll be fully booked a few nights every week.
What are the highlights of the area you want your B&B to be in? Use a calendar to write down a list of events and attractions over a 12-month period, including school holidays, and consider what effect this will have on your bookings. You can then make the most of this information with eviivo suite property management system, using the Promo Manager tool to change rates and offer promotions to maximise bookings and profits all year round!
Once you have a specific area and target audience in mind, you need to choose the property that will meet the demands of your clients. The design, décor, ambience and facilities all need to be carefully considered in order to make your property an attractive place to stay.
If you’re going for an upmarket customer in the Lake District, you’ll probably want to ensure your property is pleasing to the eye from the outside with an impeccably kept garden – does this sound like your kind of place?
Consider your audience when choosing the interior design – will they be looking for a traditional look with antiques and framed paintings, or would they prefer a fuss-free minimalistic look?
A lot of this will be down to your budget and how you are going to price up your property. If you are offering cheap and cheerful accommodation, then a basic and clean living space will be sufficient just as long as it’s reflected in the pricing.
The facilities you offer can really make or break your bed and breakfast, so make sure you offer the very best you can in order to make your property stand out. If you’re marketing your property as a romantic countryside retreat, you may want to consider a hot-tub or Jacuzzi, for example.
Nowadays, the majority of visitors will expect high-speed internet access, and if you anticipate business trade, you might want to offer a room with a desk for them to work from. If your property is aimed at young professionals who are looking to let their hair down for the weekend, you might want to consider a state-of-the-art entertainment system to keep them happy.
If you expect children will be staying on a regular basis, perhaps think about investing in some toys, DVDs and even a games console to keep them entertained.
4. You and your family
While it’s true you should have your potential customer at the heart of your plans, you need to stop and think about you and your family every now and then. If you are going to be living in the B&B side by side with the guests, it’s important to ensure you’ve chosen somewhere that can comfortably accommodate your loved ones.
Everyone needs their own space, so it would be wise to have separate living quarters for your family, allowing you to indulge in “normal” activities that others may take for granted. You may even want to consider soundproofing your house, which makes it even easier to keep business and home life separate.
You may not jump for joy at the thought of your in-laws coming to stay at the best of times, but you still need to consider if you have room to sleep family and friends – or would they be taking up a guest room that could go to a paying visitor?
Finally, it’s important to remember not to rush your research. Finding the perfect place that ticks all the right boxes is not always easy, so bide your time wherever possible.
Need more help? Once your B&B gets off the ground, you might want to consider purchasing the eviivo suite package – the all-in-one B&B booking software to keep on top of your bookings and get your property on the map!